Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Ham on Wry

If there's one thing I really enjoy in a story, it's wry humor. The Myth series, by Aspirin spring to mind as a good example. It's something I try to interject into most of the things I write, because I think it's a trait that a lot of people can relate to.

I mean, if we, ourselves, aren't the sarcastic, wise cracking, one....we all know someone else who is, right? I think the above clip (from Rocky III) is a pretty funny example. This is back in the days when pro wrestling was still under "kayfabe"...meaning that everyone in the wrestling biz acted as if it was all real. Don't get me wrong, I think pro wrestling is just as legitimate in an athleticism sense as any other sport, but as far as winners and losers go, it's all rigged.

Duh...I mean, yeah we know that now. Back then, though, it was a totally different story as this movie example of the classic 'boxer (Rocky) vs wrestler (Hulk "Thunderlips" Hogan)" clearly illustrates.

Rocky knows it's a charity event and doesn't seem fazed by the almost seven foot tall Thunderlips, but the rest of his corner crew aren't so confident.

"Why they carrying him?"

"He's walkin'."

I love the expression on Burgess (Mickey) Meredith's face after Rocky reminds him that Bob Hope would go this far for charity and his reply...."That's true..."

" better call Bob Hope..."

The best part of this clip, by far, is Rocky asking the question of how much Thunderlips eats.

"About 202lbs" Mickey says, smiling, just as Leroy Nieman announces Rocky's weight of 202lbs.

A nifty bit of writing there...especially for a Rocky movie.

I think it's the little dry quips like these that can really add a lot of flavor to dialogue...especially during a time when blatant "humor" isn't really expected. There are plenty of examples of this in many movies, t.v. shows, and books, but this exchange always sticks in my mind as a classic.

For me, trying to write out and out humor, I think, would be hard. I'm just not that 'funny'. I would consider myself 'witty'....but I'm no Rodney Dangerfield. The 'dry' type of humor is a bit more forgiving because if it's not caught, it's no big just passes for dialogue. If it is caught, though, it can really work to liven up a scene as well as be appreciated by the audience.

In your writing, do you try to interject some humor? If so, to what extent?


Julie said...

This is so true. I love it when the dialogue is serious, and then all of a sudden humor is thrown in. It actually seems to put me coser to the characters. At least to me it does. I need humor in every aspect of my life. I think I thrive on it. That Rocky clip was a good example.

Mark Means said...

@Julie: Oh, definitely agree. The more comfortable the writing, the more it's easier to connect with the character, in my opinion.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Wry humor is the best. (Like comedian Steven Wright.) I've learned to tone down my own sarcasm though.
Writing humor is difficult. I've found bantering the best way for me to do it.

Anonymous said...

I too have a sense of humour, though some may think it weird.It's good to be able to see the funny side of life.


Mark Means said...

@Alex: I agree and Steven Wright is a great example. Bantering also works well in helping to create the right mood/atmosphere....

@Yvonnes: It sure most of us think our sense of humor is "weird", but I"m sure it's not :)

Mildred R Holmes said...

Oh yeah. There is humor in my writing.

New follower here, from Please allow me to Re-Introduce Myself.

Mark Means said...

Hi Mildred, thanks for the follow and nice to meet you :)

Nothing like some humor in your writing, for sure.

celeste holloway said...

Hey, Mark!

Clever post! I'm jealous. :P But, you're so right. We gotta have humor, but when nobody gets it, we look like idiots, so snarky,under the radar humor is the best route to take. :)

Mark Means said...

Haha, thank you Celeste!

That's why, for me, subtlety is the best saves me from, potentially, looking foolish :D

Anonymous said...

These are the kind of witty dialogue exchanges that I love the most. I am usually the one laughing out loud at these in the theater when no one else caught it. I'm not any smarter, I kind of think you have to be a little simple to get them. haha.

Mark Means said...

@Sydney: lol, I know exactly what you mean :) I don't know, I like to think that, just maybe, we're a little smarter and get the subtle humor :D

Yolanda Renee said...

My puppy Patches loves McDonalds fries, you should see her dance for them!

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